|Australian Local Government Association president, Cr Geoff Lake. Image: Eddie Misic.|
By Angela Dorizas
The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) has launched its ‘10-point plan’ of local government policy priorities.
ALGA president Geoff Lake presented the document to Federal Minister for Local Government, Anthony Albanese, at the national general assembly of local government in Canberra.
The document outlines local government's 10 priorities for the 2010 Federal election, including a review of local government revenue, continuation of the Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program and permanent funding for local roads.
“At number one, is a need to improve the funding that local government receives from the Federal Government,” Cr Lake said.
“We need to create an ongoing community infrastructure program that is modelled on the Roads to Recovery program, that provides regular annual funds to councils to be able to address what we know to be, across the local government sector, an approximately $2.5 billion shortfall between what councils spend on maintaining their infrastructure and what they need to spend.
“That’s money that we believe a Federal Government interested in nation building should be prepared to allocate to councils.”
In his address to the assembly, Mr Albanese said he had already delivered on point five of the plan to support a referendum on constitutional recognition of local government and to fund a public awareness campaign on the issue.
“I’m pleased to announce that we will support your efforts,” Mr Albanese said.
“The Rudd Government will provide $250,000 to ALGA to raise the profile of constitutional recognition of local government, particularly in local communities.”
The 10-Point Plan was also delivered to the Leader of the Opposition Tony Abbott, Leader of the Nationals Warren Truss and Leader of the Greens Bob Brown.
The 10-Point Plan calls upon all political parties and federal candidates to:
- Support the establishment of a Federal Parliamentary Inquiry into the adequacy of local government revenue;
- Continue investment in the Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program, so that more of the current stock of ageing local community infrastructure can be renewed and upgraded;
- Invest further in: The Roads to Recovery program by making it a permanent funding program maintained at current levels in real terms1; and consultation with local and regional communities and local government about transport planning, including any proposed road user charges that may be implemented into the future;
- Support local government as an equal partner with the Commonwealth in the planning and delivery of important, mutually agreed national outcomes, underpinned by a renewed and strengthened Intergovernmental Agreement which promotes collaboration and prevents cost-shifting';
- Support a referendum to recognise local government in the Australian Constitution including a commitment to fund a public awareness program on the nation’s Constitution and to consult ALGA on the question to be put to the referendum;
- Support direct funding to help local government work with local and regional communities to plan for and adapt to the impacts of climate change at the local level, including through coastal planning that takes account of likely sea level rises and through investment in improved water sensitive urban design projects;
- Harness the experience of local government in waste management so that national policies are developed and delivered effectively and at lowest cost to local and regional communities;
- Recognise that planning must occur within a co-ordinated framework that links national, state, regional and local goals and the need to strengthen local government’s role in planning;
- Support local government to maintain and strengthen local government services to Indigenous communities;
Work with local government to ensure the equitable roll-out and installation of the National Broadband Network and further ensure that acceptable community standards are met in the installation of all telecommunications technologies in local government areas.
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